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 Post subject: West Side Story - Cannizaro Park
PostPosted: Sun Jul 28, 2002 1:37 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 3129
Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
<B>WEST SIDE STORY – CANNIZARO PARK, WIMBLEDON – SAT 27TH JULY 2002 – 7.30P.M.</B><P>I always book for open air theatre events in trepidation – get the weather right and half the battle to a good evening is won, however I have also sat through performances with rain dripping off my nose asking myself “what am I doing here?”<P>Fortunately last night was a perfect evening in more ways than one. The weather was glorious and the beautiful surroundings of Cannizaro Park put the audience in the mood for a hoped –for enjoyable evening. But these elements, although helpful are secondary to the performance. This production of West Side Story performed by the students of Arts Ed has to be one of the best musical theatre productions I have ever seen.<P>On entering the auditorium area we encounter a split level set simply painted in graffiti. This was used energetically to create all the various acting areas required for this production to excellent effect. The costuming was modern, but appropriate and the use of sound and lighting in what must be one of the most difficult types of performances to design for was spot on.<P>But it was the performances that stole the show. This really was an ensemble show, the energy and aggression oozed from every pore as soon as we heard the first beat of music. The infamous dance routines were slick and the choreographer made good use of a relatively small stage to still put across a feeling of space and exuberance in some of the big numbers such as America. One of my favourite numbers was Cool where the tension of the situation was put across well with sharp positions held on chairs and tables, reminiscent of cats on the prowl. A special mention for the fight sequences is deserved, as sitting in the front row they certainly scared me at times.<P>It would be unfair to single out any cast member as the company as a whole were so strong, however when Maria played by Kellie Ryan, walked onstage myself and several of my friends were unsure as to whether we would see her as “suitable”. However as soon as she opened her mouth and sang with such a sweet, gentle voice and with such a convincing accent we were all won over. Her relationship with Tony, played by Oliver Tompsett, was well-developed and gentle, a wonderful contrast to the aggression of the rest of the show.<P>All the lead characters had superb voices but it was some of the ensemble singing that was particularly memorable. The Rumble is always a challenge but this was carried off admirably and powerfully and the ensemble version of Somewhere was beautiful.<P>This production was one of the finest examples of ensemble playing I have seen, the leads were excellent but every character made their mark. The fact that obviously all of the performers have worked so closely together at college came across and to see so much young talent on stage at the same time was truly exhilarating.<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: West Side Story - Cannizaro Park
PostPosted: Sun Jul 28, 2002 6:38 am 
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Joined: Tue Apr 23, 2002 11:01 pm
Posts: 5
Location: Surrey
I also saw the performance last night and agree with Joanne's review - it was an excellent piece of musical theatre and a show that worked perfectly in an outdoors arena. Special mention to the sound quality which was faultless - not easy to achieve in a outdoors environment and with such an energetic show.


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 Post subject: Re: West Side Story - Cannizaro Park
PostPosted: Sun Jul 28, 2002 9:57 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Thanks to Joanne and David for your impressions. Were they using the Jerome Robbins choreography?


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 Post subject: Re: West Side Story - Cannizaro Park
PostPosted: Sun Jul 28, 2002 1:59 pm 
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
To my knowledge they weren't but it was obviously in that style.


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